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Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is a natural substance that has many health benefits. It stops pain and inflammation, protects the heart, and improves brain function. Read more below to learn about its effects and be sure to check out our ebook SelfHacked Secrets for a comprehensive guide to biohacking your way to health. Download the first chapter for free by clicking here.


Palmitoylethanolamide, or PEA, is a substance produced in the body naturally to combat inflammation. Outside the body, it can be found in soybean lecithin, egg yolk, peanut meal and other foods (R).

In addition, PEA is available as a supplement in tablet, capsule, and powder form to help with chronic and neuropathic pain relief. It is commonly used in Italy and Spain as a food supplement.

Since its discovery in the 1950’s, it has been widely researched as a pain suppressant and anti-inflammatory. It has found to have little to no known side effects (R).

Health Benefits of Palmitoylethanolamide

1) PEA Reduces Pain and Inflammation

In humans, PEA reduced the pain intensity in patients given a PEA supplement than those without a PEA supplement (R).

PEA reduced pain levels in patients with back pain better than in patients not given PEA (R).

In women with pelvic pain, PEA improved the pain and sexual function symptoms in 6 months (R).

PEA decreased pain intensities in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (R).

In chemotherapy-caused pain, PEA can help treat nerve pain in cancer patients (R).

In animals, adelmidrol, a PEA equivalent, reduced acute and chronic inflammation (R).

PEA-treated mice had less inflammation and lung damage than those treated without PEA (R).

PEA has an anti-inflammatory effect on mice with collagen-induced arthritis (R).

In mice, PEA helped reduced spinal cord injury-induced inflammation (R).

2) PEA Protects the Brain

In stroke patients given PEA, recovery outcomes, such as cognitive skills and brain status, improved compared to stroke patients not given PEA (R).

PEA improved cognitive and social behaviors in autistic children (R).

In mice, PEA helps preserve brain cells and reduces the expression of pro-inflammatory enzymes. PEA may reduce brain inflammation and brain cell death (R).

Mice given PEA had improved results in neuron regeneration after spinal cord injury (R).

In rats, a pre-treatment of PEA reduced seizure duration, indicating PEA may also have anti-epileptic properties (R).

In mice injected with neurotoxins, PEA reduced some of the neurotoxic and neuroinflammatory effects (R).

3) PEA Benefits the Heart

In mice with induced heart attacks, PEA reduced heart tissue injury, levels of inflammatory cytokines, and cell death (R).

Rats treated with PEA for 5 weeks had lower blood pressure than rats not treated with PEA (R).

4) PEA is Good for Eye Health

In patients with eye diseases, PEA has anti-inflammatory benefits in eye cells and may be used as a treatment supplement, especially for those with glaucoma and diabetic nerve damage (R).

Additionally, PEA counteracted eye pressure that occurred after eye surgery (R).

In human patients with normal tension glaucoma, PEA treatment improved the visual field (R).

In diabetic rats, PEA reduced inflammation in eye cells but preserved the blood-retinal barrier (R).

Also, PEA reduced inflammation in rats’ eyes and reduced damage (R).

5) PEA Helps Gut Function

Adelmidrol, a PEA equivalent, is anti-inflammatory and can help manage inflammatory bowel disease (R).

In rats, PEA lowered blood pressure and helped protected against kidney injury (R).

PEA also normalized intestinal movement in mice with irritable bowel syndrome (R).


  • Palmitoylethanolamide exerts neuroprotection and reduces inflammatory secondary events associated with brain ischemia-reperfusion injury (middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo)) (R).
  • In one pivotal, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 636 sciatic pain patients, the number needed to treat to reach 50% pain reduction compared to baseline was 1.5 after 3 weeks of treatment (R).
  • Interestingly, Palmitoylethanolamide also showed protective scavenging effect, through superoxide dismutase induction, and dampened unfolding protein response, interfering with glucose-regulated protein 78 expression and PERK-eIF2α pathway (R).
  • Palmitoylethanolamide treatment reduces myocardial tissue injury, neutrophil infiltration, adhesion molecules (ICAM-1, P-selectin) expression, proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β) production, nitrotyrosine and PAR formation, nuclear factor kB expression, and apoptosis (Fas-L, Bcl-2) activation (R).

Health Tools I Wish I Had When I Was Sick

At SelfHacked, it’s our goal to offer our readers all the tools possible to get optimally healthy. When I was struggling with chronic health issues I felt stuck because I didn’t have any tools to help me get better. I had to spend literally thousands of hours trying to read through studies on pubmed to figure out how the body worked and how to fix it.

That’s why I decided to create tools that will help others cut down the guesswork:

  • Lab Test Analyzer – a software tool that will analyze your labs and tell you what the optimal values are for each marker — as well as provide you with actionable tips and personalized health and lifestyle recommendations to help you get there.
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  • SelfHacked Secrets – an ebook where we examine and explain the biggest overlooked environmental factors that cause disease. This ebook is a great place to start your journey if you want to learn the essential steps to optimizing your health.
  • SelfHacked Elimination Diet course – a video course that will help you figure out which diet works best for you
  • Selfhacked Inflammation course – a video course on inflammation and how to bring it down
  • Biohacking insomnia – an ebook on how to get great sleep
  • Lectin Avoidance Cookbook – an e-cookbook for people with food sensitivities
  • BrainGauge – a device that detects subtle brain changes and allows you to test what’s working for you
  • SelfHacked VIP – an area where you can ask me (Joe) questions about health topics

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  • Maddy

    There is a company in Pennsylvania which now makes it domestically. PEA in capsule and they make a topical 2% cream called soothamide. Vitalitus is the name of company. I am experimenting with using it against migraine. So one side effect (positive) that I did not expect is that this seems to also stop hair loss. I am 49 year old female, been fighting thinning and shedding for several years. I take Thorne’s 2 a day multi, which has a good mix of B’s and other vitamins/minerals, I have been taking ProFerrin ES for low ferritin, vitamin K & D. Taking those a long time. Also Flax lignan and neocell collagen. Was taking all those for a long time, many many months. PEA daily made a huge difference in hair fall. Like almost nothing in my shower drain…like 10 hairs maybe. A few when I blow dry/brush. Was 150 easily regularly. So does it lower TGF-beta? Or does it just do this by downregulating mast cells (one of its primary mechanisms of action)? Mast cells are known to be over represented in scalp where hair loss is present. Just thought I’d share. On migraine…using both cream and oral, jury still out but I think helping.

  • Ang Miller

    These comments are full of Shills. No normal person talks this way. Beware of companies who use shills as that practice is unethical. One cannot expect genuine product from a swindler.

  • Rose

    Great article

  • Rob

    For what I can find out is that OptiPEA is indeed produced by collaboration between Innexus Nutraceuticals and Ofichem. And for what I can find out OptiPEA DOES have independent regulatory body documents to back up their claims. Control Union and the Dutch health ministry are two examples of independent regulatory bodies.

    I’ve looked and can’t find another PEA company that does. Perhaps they say so but they do not have proof. If a company is not transparent about a product it usually means there’s something to hide.
    I can’t imagine why a company would not use this to their advantage if they had this kind of information. What company does not want to inform and assure consumers about the quality of their products? It does not make any sense, unless it is not true or they cannot back up their claims, which makes the claims useless. In my opinion this is a good reason to be very skeptical.

    I have figured out how things work the hard way. Let’s say inferior Chinese PEA is used, but it is encapsulated in Europe/US in a GMP facility. No company is going to say it’s Chinese PEA but they will claim things like “made in a European GMP facility”. This is ONLY the encapsulation process! It tells us nothing about the raw material. No brand but OptiPEA assures me with proof that they do not trick me this way. It is nothing but misleading consumers and this should be known.

    Other supplements companies like Natural Stacks also have integrity and understand that transparency is important to consumers and that in the dietary supplement industry this has been lacking big time. I have no reason to doubt OptiPEA, but all the reasons to doubt the rest. I chose quality and transparency over anything when it comes to my health. I think is that the PEA market is a big mess and OptiPEA knows that, too, that’s why they separate themselves from the rest.

    All in all the burden of proof should be the responsibility of the company and should not be open to interpretation for the consumer with claims like the above. It is too crazy to read that Jim thinks it should be the other way around. Also, if anyone understands how a GMP facility operates and how it is audited, fraud is almost impossible as everything has to be validated extensively, therefore the OptiPEA CoA is as valid as it gets.

    I agree to stop running in circles. Show documents from other PEA companies that support their claims. This is the only way.

  • Debi Smith

    I use Mirica. It contains PEA that is produced in the Netherlands. It has helped so much with severe pain and anxiety.

  • Dan Z


    I couldn’t agree more! It changed my life and peaCure has been great to work with on getting information. I watched a Facebook Live and it was educational and not promotional.

  • Jim

    We seem to be running in circles with this conversation, don’t we? Providing documentation that only you regulate is not really the pinnacle of objectivity.
    In fact, one of the papers on their website that is actually regulated by someone else is the FDA confirmation of the production facility and here we can see that they actually don’t produce it, but outsource it to a different company.
    Anyway, the point of smearing all other manufacturers based on a self-provided certificate is far from objective.

  • Debi Smith

    I prefer companies that are transparent and provide documentation. None of the other PEA products do this, only OptiPEA.

  • Jim

    Once again, claiming that OptiPEA is made in Europe is all fine. But claiming that all others are not is completely arbitrary.
    The company made that OptiPEA certificate. There is no independent regulatory body that regulates OptiPEA certification in any way, Literally, each and every source is the manufacturer.
    Now, let’s say their claims are completely true (I have no objective reason to doubt them, although I can’t really say I like this internal certification deal). That would mean that their PEA is made in Europe. Good.
    Why does that mean that any other PEA is not made in Europe? It doesn’t. It’s just an arbitrary claim based on a certificate made and regulated by the same company that sells the product.
    Do you understand what I mean?

  • Debi Smith

    The San Diego doctor is pushing Chinese PEA. OptiPEA is produced in Europe. All the documentation is on their website.

  • Jim

    You’ve probably read that person from San Diego, can’t remember the name now. She’s pushing some brands (from my research, all from the same place).
    They made a trademark and they are pushing it as authority. Have you found any place where optipea is mentioned and that it is not a website of a seller or a manufacturer? Something like a government regulatory body, a lab, or anything officially independent? Nope, just sellers and manufacturers.
    For example, if you type ISO, or GMP, you will find loads of sellers and manufacturers, but also regulatory bodies who enforce and control them. No such thing with optipea

  • Debi Smith

    I’ve been reading up on PEA. All available brands in the US that don’t contain OptiPEA are just rebranded Chinese PEA.

  • Maddy

    I was wondering the same thing! Hoping it is mislabeled and that PEA is separate and distinct from phosphatidylserine, because that stuff give me a wicked headache every time I take it which lasts 3 days.

  • Jim

    I found that one too while looking for ways to make it more powerful, but also read this about luteolin.
    Makes it less appealing for long-term use for me. Liposomal PEA gave me the extra power

  • Debi Smith

    I have been using PEA for CRPS and it has really helped with the pain and stiffness. I switched to a brand that contains luteolin and it is working even better! It has pharmaceutical grade PEA from the Netherlands and luteolin which also reduces pain and inflammation. They seem to work better together. I get it through amazon. It’s called mirica.

  • Debi Smith

    I have been using PEA for CRPS and it has really helped with the pain and stiffness. I switched to Mirica and it is working even better! It has pharmaceutical grade PEA from the Netherlands and luteolin which also reduces pain and inflammation. They seem to work better together.

  • Nate

    Does this compound have something to do with phosphatidylserine? It says that in the image at the top of the page.

  • Jim

    I just have to say that I’ve tried a new version from peaCURE. It’s Liposomal peaCURE and it’s beyond belief. So much more powerful. They explained that it’s because of the ‘liposomal delivery system’ and sent me several links to read about them. If I hadn’t tried before reading the links, I’d think the claims were too good to be true, having experienced the difference previously… WOW

  • Lily

    Hello Susan,

    I very much recognize your situation. Have you tried PeaPlex from

  • Jim

    I’m ordering from peacure. They are from the Netherlands, but they have a distributor in the US. I get my orders within 5 days, usually

  • W

    Hi Barbra, thanks for suggesting the brand you trust. I just looked it up and appears to be an European product. Do you know of any that is accessible and trusted for us in the USA/Canada?

  • Barbara

    I am very satisfied with this brand (ergomax) because they have actual analytical reports posted and their PEA is synthesized in the Netherlands and not in China. I had a few questions about PEA and e-mailed with the optipea folks. Their reply was helpful and fast.

  • Susan Brown

    Can you recommend a reputable brand? Which brand is safe to take?
    Beware of the fake ones from China at Amazon!

  • sjeran

    Very interesting, I found more info

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